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House committee subpoenas Harvard for withholding documents in antisemitism probe

The Education and the Workforce Committee on Friday subpoenaed Harvard for documents it seeks in a probe regarding antisemitism at the Ivy League university — memos and meeting minutes lawmakers say administrators are keeping from them.

It is reportedly the first time in its 157-year history that the education committee has ever subpoenaed a college or university, according to Inside Higher Ed, which added some higher ed experts argued such a move marks “a shift in how Congress deals with colleges, which could potentially erode institutional autonomy and academic freedom.”

The GOP-led committee, in a news release, stated it gave Harvard plenty of time and opportunity to provide the documents and was forced to issue the subpoena after campus leaders dragged their feet and tried to pass off public documents, student workbooks and heavily redacted memos as meeting the request.

“[O]f the 2,516 pages of documents Harvard has produced in response to the Committee’s antisemitism inquiry to date, at least 1,032 — over 40 percent — were already publicly available,” Rep. Virginia Foxx, the committee’s chair, stated in the news release. Foxx added:

“Last week, I made it very clear to Harvard that the documents it had produced up to that point were severely insufficient. I warned that a subpoena would be warranted if the university continued to miss the mark, giving it ample opportunity to correct course before compulsory measures were taken. Unfortunately, Harvard did not heed the Committee’s warning and once again failed to satisfy the Committee’s requests. In its most recent response, Harvard failed to make substantial productions on two of four priority requests and its productions on the remaining two priority requests contain notable deficiencies, including apparent omissions and questionable redactions.

“Harvard’s continued failure to satisfy the Committee’s requests is unacceptable. I will not tolerate delay and defiance of our investigation while Harvard’s Jewish students continue to endure the firestorm of antisemitism that has engulfed its campus. If Harvard is truly committed to combating antisemitism, it has had every opportunity to demonstrate its commitment with actions, not words.

“It is my hope that these subpoenas serve as a wakeup call to Harvard that Congress will not tolerate antisemitic hate in its classrooms or on campus.”

As The College Fix reported last week, part of what the committee seeks is meeting minutes or summaries from the Harvard Board of Overseers and Harvard Management Company since Oct. 7, which is when Israel was hit with a terrorist attack that killed more than 1,200 civilians.

The committee also seeks disciplinary records for antisemitism issues and documents and communications relating to the establishment of the President’s Task Force on Anti-Semitism.

Harvard told Inside Higher Ed the subpoenas were “unwarranted.”

“Given the breadth and extensive nature of the information Harvard has provided to the committee, it is unfortunate that the committee has chosen to issue a subpoena,” the statement said.

MORE: House committee threatens Harvard with subpoena over antisemitism probe

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